No matter what town you grew up in, there was an urban legend designed to scare the bejeezus out of you and Westchester, New York is no different. Home to Buckout Road, which has the dubious honor of “Most Haunted Road in America”, it’s a bit of a minor miracle that there isn’t already a handful of films about this two mile stretch of asphalt. Showing at the Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival, Buckout Road comes from director/writer Matthew Currie Holmes. A student of the 80’s Midnight Movies that were fueled by low budgets and high concepts, Holmes has crafted a supernatural love letter to his childhood.
As Aaron Powell (Evan Ross) returns to his childhood home, he is already expecting to find turmoil with his grandfather, Dr. Powell (Danny Glover), but he has no idea that it is in his dreams that he will find truly dangerous opponents. In order to bring all of our characters together, Cleo Harris (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) is a patient of Dr. Powell and she quickly takes to Aaron despite her father’s disapproval of this new friendship. Detective Harris (Henry Czerny) knows the Powell family better than Cleo does, but will his fatherly instincts impede his investigation into the recent uptick of dead bodies found along Buckout road?
Inspired by a college class project, Cleo is working with fellow students Derek and Erik on “Creation and Destruction of Modern Myth”. They’re hoping to debunk the legends surrounding Buckout Road, but they end up experiencing strange dreams along with episodes of sleepwalking and this is where Holmes’ love of 80’s horror comes in. We enter each dream as if it is it’s own film within a film á la the 1988 film Waxwork. While Cleo’s dreams tell the story of three witches burned at the stake, Derek and Erik find themselves contending with albino cannibals in a fun, throwback slasher complete with film that is scratchy and marked with cigarette burns.
There is quite a bit of story that goes on and all of the characters intertwine with one another as the mystery unfolds, but utilizing the push/pull of faith vs. fact keeps everyone on their toes and the viewer guessing. Ross is a standout as he plays Aaron with a hard, yet likable, edge and Provost-Chalkley is the kind of smart and strong final girl that we all yearn for. Although the logistics of the ending are a bit perplexing, Buckout Road is a genuinely fun film with some effective jump scares and a fresh take on the urban legend.
Lisa Fremont | Twitter: @lcfremont